gbpackerbacker wrote:Could the people who chose Penn (sans Veyron) explain why?
I'll try to chime in here -- I am currently an 0L and was accepted to Penn/Chicago/NYU (among others). I knocked NYU out of the running for irrelevant reasons here. So, it was basically down to Penn or Chicago.
Honestly, Chicago is, in many ways, a stronger school, but not by too much. It has better NLJ250+Art III numbers, better placement in V20 firms, and stronger reputation scores than Penn. Basically, in most numerical comparisons of the schools' placement power/reputation, Chicago has a slight edge. However, all of those advantages it has over Penn are marginal, i.e. 5% or 10% at most better. The only place where Chicago is head and shoulders better than Penn is academia.
Despite this, I ended up choosing Penn for three reasons -- I visited both and liked Penn slightly more; my SO would have been closer, though that was probably more icing on the cake than a factor; finally, I asked myself what I wanted out of my career. I am really interested in doing litigation at a big firm in NYC and then trying to nab an AUSA position in a secondary market. When I asked myself what tangible benefit would Chicago give me over Penn, it came down to really only being a slighter higher chance at getting that biglaw gig -- that's all. (I'm also interested in a fed. district court clerkship, but Penn does better in the secondary market where I want to clerk.) When I thought about it, I would rather be at a place I like slightly more than somewhere I wasn't as fond of (i.e. Chicago) just for a few percentage points.
So, I would recommend you visit both and see which one suits you better. If, however, you find all else is equal, those few % points work in Chicago's favor.
Admittedly, this entire calculus happened before I got a huge scholarship from Penn, which made it 50k cheaper over three years. At that point, it was a no-brainer. In terms of money for you, Penn would obviously only be 15k cheaper, so then you would need to weigh Chicago's marginally (and I don't use the word to brush off their edge) stronger placement/rep. against how much that 15k matters.
This is only one man's perspective and I'm sure you could disagree but I hope you found it helpful!